UNRWA schools celebrate ”EU fun days” with year-end exhibition

04 December 2012
5 December 2012
Nablus, West Bank
Children studying at the schools of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) celebrated today the closing ceremony of the EU Fun Days project in Askar refugee camp in Nablus, West Bank. The project was funded entirely by the European Union (EU), and was launched to introduce children to the European continent and its various cultures, in addition to regular fun activities. The project also supported the education recovery plan that was launched in 2009.
Opening the exhibition, UNRWA School Activities Supervisor Samer Jaber said: “I would like to express my gratitude to the EU for funding these activities throughout the year, as they gave our students the chance to know a lot about European heritage, architecture and civilization.
“It also gave them the chance to participate in extracurricular activities and express themselves by showing their hidden talents,” she added.
UNRWA Deputy Director of Operations in the West Bank David Hutton told the audience: “We know that UNRWA is unable to fulfil all the needs of Palestine refugees, but it can continue supporting and advocating for their rights. I visited UNRWA Askar School for Girls days ago where I met students from the school parliament. I was impressed by the desire of those students to improve both their school and their community through their own efforts. The youth here today are inspiring.
“We would like also to express our thanks to the EU for their support, stressing the fact that unifying our efforts is the key route to achieving a better future for Palestine refugees.”
EU-UNRWA fun days took place in every UNRWA school in the West Bank throughout the summer and on Saturdays once the school year began.
Participants learned about elements of European culture through various methods including poetry, art, dance, and gymnastics. With a generous contribution of EUR 56, 000, the project targeted more than 8,000 children, or approximately 15 per cent of students in UNRWA schools in the West Bank.
The teachers divided the participants by grade level to work on artistic performances, songs and poems about a theme connected to Europe. The children also produced puppets and sketch shows around different components of European cultures and famous Spanish football teams.
Today’s event featured student performances and an art exhibition, allowing students from different schools in the Nablus area to show off their achievements and share experiences.

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency‘s General Fund, supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit.

The European Union is the largest multilateral provider of international assistance to Palestine refugees. Between 2000 and 2011, the EU, excluding EU member states alone, has provided approximately EUR 1.2 billion of support to the Agency. This funding has enabled human development for the most vulnerable Palestine refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
For more information, please contact: 
Kazem Abu-Khalaf
UNRWA Public Information officer
Mobile: 0542168723/0542168717
Background Information: 

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact: